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Line Adjustments aim to Provide Boost

Wednesday, 10.22.2008 / 12:37 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Line Adjustments aim to Provide Boost

Yesterday was the power play’s turn to have a different look.  Today, those changes carried over to even strength.

Paul Branecky
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Continuing with what worked in the team’s last game against Anaheim, Rod Brind’Amour centered a line with Ray Whitney and Matt Cullen, while Eric Staal played with Sergei Samsonov and Patrick Eaves, who is back on a scoring line after bouncing around the lineup in the early going.

It’s the first time in recent memory that Ray Whitney and Eric Staal have been split up.  That change seems to be designed to balance the overall scoring a little bit more, as both of those players have done their part with six and five points through the first two games, respectively, to pace the Canes in scoring.  “The Weapon” (no longer secret), Niclas Wallin, is tied with Staal for second place.

One benefit of the changes could be more involvement from players like Samsonov and Eaves.  They’ve combined for only one point so far - an assist by Eaves on opening night.  I think Samsonov in particular has looked fine so far, and his points will come.  The recent changes may speed that up - both players had their chances in the Anaheim game.

”I think it’s just a balance to get all the lines contributing, just to give it a different look since we had lost a couple of games,” said coach Peter Laviolette.  “Roddy and Whit played together for a year and a half, and the year they played together they were both the leading scorers.  Staal has had some success with Samsonov, and hopefully we can generate offense from more than just one player and do it from multiple lines and the back end.”

Brandon Sutter’s line with Ryan Bayda and Chad LaRose remained unchanged, while Wade Brookbank and Dan LaCouture rounded out an incomplete fourth line caused by Tuomo Ruutu’s continued absence – he skated on his own for a lengthy period prior to practice, but is unlikely to play tomorrow.

“I think at this point it’s better to be safe than sorry,” said Laviolette of Ruutu.  “He’s been out for a while, this has been nagging, and I think to get through a practice and give him some time to make sure he’s 100 percent (will be good).  Then when he comes back, he’s here for good.”

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
N. Hanifin 79 4 18 -14 22
J. Slavin 63 2 18 1 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81